Claim Your Own Mental Fitness

“When you see what’s wrong and you try to make it right, you will be a point of light.” Randy Travis

This line from Randy Travis always brings me to tears. But wishing don’t make it so. First you must construct a lantern for your candle. This spark of inspiration and faith in yourself, like all fire, needs containment and guidance to become Travis’ point of light. Mrs. Fixit would say that the candle represents the unique set of skills and talents you have to fuel this light and your Adult must experiment with how to keep it lit. The glass in a lantern protects your inspiration from the wind and rain along your journey, and allows it to keep lighting your way. The metal housing gives your candle a firm base to keep it steady and an access point for recharging your fuel. The handle allows you to hold it up where you need its luminance. You’ll construct your own unique lanterns as you go.

To claim your own mental fitness, you must have a grasp of just what you need to navigate in your life. The system I’ve been describing in this blog and in my book offers the means to construct this for yourself. Here’s an outline of the key elements:
Child: the energy, talents and interests that constitute the raw material for your candle.
Indulgent Parent: the unfettered permission to explore and express Child impulses in scented and malleable wax-like form.
Critical Parent: the limiting and shaping instrument that forms your candle
Wise Parent: balances these two, allowing a well-shaped and sturdy candle that’s not too brittle or too soft.
Adult: monitors these as you go through your days, adjusting each and creating your Wise Parent as it revises the Toxic Beliefs of your Indulgent and Critical Parents. It trims your wick just right and makes sure your candle is ready for your journey into relationships and managing your daily life.

The skills your Adult needs to provide this guiding influence are contained in the FORMULA. Remember, it must Focus inward upon your Child and Parent parts, Observe what Toxic Beliefs might be triggering fight-or-flight, Revise these to calm your system and make the new versions available in your Wise Parent. Then your Adult must Monitor for any needed adjustments, continually Using your Child’s body-linked feedback that fight-or-flight has begun. Next your Adult must support your Child’s feelings of hope, confidence and strength by Lightening its day with fun, inspiring, healing and energizing experiences. This keeps your light shining brightly. Finally Your Adult must learn how to Apply this system when you interact with other people and when life stresses you in new ways that threaten to take you into overwhelming emotional darkness.

Five-year-olds don’t design lanterns. With their immature pre-frontal cortexes, they can’t monitor well or study how other people have found ways to become steady points of light. Gradually we develop the mental ability to do this, but we get very poor guidance for how to build effective lanterns as we go through life. Expect to work hard for mental fitness. Even when you know how to work with your different mind aspects and practice the FORMULA, it’s still very hard to keep a steady march with your point of light through all the stressors you encounter. My book describes many of the obstacles that prevent our Adults from practicing the FORMULA. Some of us even start with a handicap (PT. II, Chapter 1) because our brains are wired to have more difficulty.

Once you have your lantern, how can you “see what’s wrong and try to make it right?” Your Adult must be like Syd Mead’s robot “Number Five” in the Turman-Foster film Short Circuit, open to and hungry for INPUT. Humans through all our history have struggled with the same issues facing you. They’ve written about what’s helped them, often brilliantly. Nowadays movies and other videos offer new avenues for study. To keep your Adult functioning well you must keep practicing the FORMULA and also become a life-long learner about mental fitness.

Study the Wise Parent guidance of others you respect to decide what you believe is right or wrong. Don’t be too proud or too lazy to explore what they have to offer if you want mental fitness. Your steady light can lead others to light their own candles and see what’s wrong, then try to make it right.

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